THE January break is, at last, drawing to a close and we’re only days away from being able to see the Bhoys in action.

Granted, on paper, it’s hardly a blockbuster tie – at home to Buckie Thistle in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup (Sunday, kick-off 4pm) – but after a three-week withdrawal, we’ll take what we can get.

I certainly don’t intend to disrespect the Jags, who ply their trade in the Highland League, where they’re in fifth position. In fact, five seems to be their lucky number right now.

The visitors from the north east are said to be bringing 5,000 supporters to Paradise and have won their last five matches. 

They will dare to dream and are boosted by the signing this week of up-and-comer Liam Harvey, who showed promise for Aberdeen before being released in order to seek more first-team opportunities. 

Manager Graeme Stewart said on Monday: “We have won already by getting there. We have won, in terms of finances for the club and the exposure the club has got has been fantastic, so we have taken in new fans and sponsorship. All of that has been amazing.”

You have to love it. For many associated with Buckie Thistle, this will be the highlight of their career. The bookies have them at over 50/1 to cause the upset, and should they pull off the seemingly impossible, then their names will be forever etched in Scottish footballing history.

Despite the gap in quality between the two sides, I don’t envisage Brendan Rodgers taking this one too lightly. He’s already been dumped out of one domestic cup this season at an early stage and will not wish to see that repeated.

His starting XI will be interesting. Could we see the debut of new £2.8m signing Nicolas Kuhn, who has just put pen to paper on a five-year contract?

The 24-year-old German winger joins from Rapid Vienna, where the one-time Ajax and Bayern Munich player scored three goals and notched up seven assists this campaign.

I had to laugh when listening to Clyde 1 Superscoreboard the other night. Celtic bringing in an attacking player who will get the fans off their seats? Of course they had to find someone who’d pour cold water on the excitement. 

So-called Austrian football expert, Dorian Schuster from transfermarkt, did concede that Kuhn is a “kind of special player” as he highlighted his immense dribbling ability, but then criticised other aspects of his game such as poor finishing ability and his injury history.

“He played in the second league in Germany and also his first season in Vienna was quite a mess – he was quite often very injured and he never reached the highest level of his skills or fitness... I honestly don’t know if it will work out in the Scottish league. He is a fast player but as I mentioned, injury prone and I don’t know if he will have fun with Scottish defenders.”

So, there you go. The fella from transfermarkt isn’t convinced so maybe Celtic should ask for a refund already.

As for other rumours this window, things appear to be ramping up. It’s been reported that Rodgers is eager to bring in a left-back and a striker, potentially on loan.

Owen Beck, the 21-year-old Liverpool full-back who spent the first half of the season at Dundee before being recalled by Jurgen Klopp, has gained many admirers at Parkhead, with the Reds mulling over whether to send him back to Scotland or keep him as cover after injuries to Kostas Tsimikas and Andy Robertson.

The Welsh internationalist had Daizen Maeda in his back pocket a few weeks ago, is strong, quick and athletic. This is a move I wouldn’t be averse to, but only if the Hoops had the option to make the switch permanent. 

Also, wounds are still fresh after the last full-back signed from Merseyside.

Who could forget Jonjoe Kenny, a deadline day winter loan deal from Everton in 2021?
At the time, I recall reading many Toffees fans commenting on Twitter how unlucky he was to have someone as good as Seamus Coleman in front of him, and that he would do brilliantly in Glasgow.

However, that wasn’t remotely the case and Kenny was easily one of the worst players to have ever put on the famous Hoops.

He hated his time at the Bhoys so much that he even removed any Celtic-linked photo from his Instagram profile. Now he’s at Hertha Berlin in the second tier of German football. So, best to tread with caution, but Beck is showing plenty of potential.

As for a striker, cover is needed with Maeda and Oh off at the Asian Cup. Should Japan and South Korea go deep into the competition then Celtic would be without the pair until around the middle of February.

Reinforcements up front were a priority anyway, but this should strengthen the resolve to get another body in.

Don’t be shocked if any further business does end up being loan deals.

I never expected the board to fork out huge fees and the hope is that they can do just enough to get the title over the line.

However, with around £60m up for grabs to whoever makes next year’s Champions League, and tens of millions sitting in the bank, it’s quite the risk given that Celtic are certainly in a title race. A brave move? Or a foolish one? We’ll find out over the coming months.